The Connected Classroom

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The Connected Classroom

Digital devices will continue to work alongside paper and pen in the classroom of the future, as teachers adapt their teaching practices and get the best of both worlds to improve learning opportunities for all of their students

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Schools that make sound investments in technology are delivering huge strides in pupils' attainment as the connected classroom brings access to more flexible styles of learning. In these classrooms, technology devices are anything but a distraction, instead enhancing lessons and fostering the spirit of exploration and collaboration so essential in the digitally adept 21st century student.

Amongst the education practitioners who have delivered stellar results in adapting their teaching alongside technology are those at Barclay Primary School in Leyton, north London. Five years ago the school was in the bottom

5 per cent of the country but it has turned this performance on its head to preside in the top 6 per cent. It's a stunning outcome that Justin James, executive headteacher, says has been achieved in part through the use of technology.

At Barclay, technology is woven into the fabric of the school and the day begins with an assembly that is shown on a giant screen for everyone to see. In the classrooms, pupils use Samsung Chromebooks to create art and other visual content in lessons, which the teacher can share on the interactive screen for the children to reflect and comment on. Children use tablets to video each other reading and subsequently to assess how expressive their storytelling is.

Providing a choice of tools

The use of tablets and technology devices to promote self-assessment is a common theme among enthusiasts and is an activity in which children of all ages can participate and derive benefit. Another facet where technology is delivering value at Barclay is the differentiation of lessons. In year 6 maths, for example, the teacher has devised a series of mini-lessons using the format of apps, enabling pupils to follow a curriculum more independently and at their own pace.

As Graham Long, Vice-President, Enterprise Business Team at Samsung, confirms, the connected classroom is not all about the device, but about providing a choice of tools. "Whether the choice is a hard-copy book or a tablet or pen and paper, teachers can select the best medium to deliver a piece of education." Similarly, smart technology in classroom does not simply automate traditional methods but offers innovative new ways of learning.

James Wilding, principal, Claires Court School says: "The Samsung classroom devices work seamlessly with the education tools that we already have. The levels of engagement in the class have improved and the children love using the technology".

Teaching time can add depth and breadth

These instances of how technology can enhance learning in the classroom not only enthuse students and teachers but parents too. A survey carried out by Samsung of over 500 parents of primary and secondary school children found that 56 per cent believe that investment in IT infrastructure should be the number one priority in schools, with 45 per cent wanting digital skills embedded in the curriculum. And two-thirds of parents worry that lack of investment will result in a digital skills gap in the future.

Certainly technology investments in devices and connectivity are creating a new experience in education and a vision of the classroom of the future is unfolding fast. The digitally enabled lesson concept is gathering credence. Massive online open courses (Moocs), free learning platforms accessed over the internet, are supporting a new model of learning in the classroom. Flipped lessons invert traditional teaching methods, delivering instruction online outside the classroom and bringing 'homework' into the classroom. Teaching time can be devoted to adding depth and breadth to the information students already have, confirms an early pioneer, Oakham School in Rutland. "I tell my students to look at the information on the Mooc before the lesson," explains Nick Neve, the school's head of computing.

Research from Bishop Grosseteste University paints a vision where "over time education will become a continuous, interconnected effort preparing students to cope with a perpetually changing world". With the help of judicious technology, students, parents and teachers are all embarking on the digital journey through the changing world together.

Claires Court School Samsung Chromebooks Video Case Study

Learn how Samsung Chromebooks help pupils at Claires Court School to engage with educational resources and allow teachers to enhance collaboration and learning in the classroom and at home.